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Joseph Smith as Translator Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
August 22, 2021 9:23 pm

Joseph Smith as Translator Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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August 22, 2021 9:23 pm

This week Bill and Eric interview Sandra Tanner (Mormonism: Shadow or Reality) as we consider Joseph Smith’s track record as a translator, including: The Book of Mormon The Bible The Book of Abraham The Book of Moses The Kinderhook Plates Should Joseph Smith be trusted? Or were his translation abilities suspect? Tune in this week!

Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever

Sharing the good news with Mormons edited by Sean McDowell monitors research ministries. Johnson offers practical witnessing strategies by a number of Christian missionaries and scholars and pastors sharing the good news with Mormons is published by harvest House and is available at your favorite online bookstore or order it directly from If you're looking for practical strategies for getting the conversation started. Be sure to check out sharing the good news with Mormons viewpoint on Mormonism program and examine the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson my colleague MRM, but we also have with us. Our good friend Sandra Tanner and this week we hope to talk about Joseph Smith is not only known as a prophet searing rebel leader but one of the attributes given Mormon prophets to be the ability to translate and Joseph Smith certainly did claim on the number of occasions that he could translate and so were going to talk about Joseph Smith translating abilities of Sandra welcome back to the show. Good to have you. Hello talk first of all, about the book of Mormon because that is no doubt the most prominent unique Scripture to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We want to move on into other areas because Joseph Smith didn't just allegedly translate the book of Mormon.

The gold plates from the reformed Egyptian into English, but he also translated other things as well. Once you give us a rundown on how you were taught as a Latter Day Saints regarding the translation of the book of Mormon.

Well, it was always presented to me that there were literally gold plates that they held that the angel directed Joseph to to translate and saved with the plates was what the book of Mormon refers to as interpreters, which I later got called your mom, and that the specially preserved large spectacles is what they sound like large glasses with crystal lenses were that items that he would look through to look at the plates to translate and that he literally was looking at the plates and translating as any scholar would to so that what he dictated would literally be a rendering in English of what was written on the plates so it was inspired by God that it was inspired to do a translation in the same sense that anyone else would've translated the plates, the subject of reformed Egyptian nobody that I know of who is an expert in Egyptology is ever heard of reformed Egyptian. What to some of the Mormon scholars have to say about that while the Mormon scholars would just backpedal on what is meant by reformed Egyptian that doesn't have to be called that, and they may bring up the fact that there's different scripts for Egyptian the hieroglyphics then moved to heraldic that then moved to demotic, which word later forms of how you wrote Egyptian but the book of Mormon sample that Joseph gave us of the writing is not representative of any of these three Egyptian types of script so it has to be something totally different than anything known to translators. Sandra, do you believe that the human thumb, the special instruments that supposedly Joseph Smith was given when he recovered, the plates were ever used by Joseph Smith to be able to translate the book of Mormon. While that gets real sketchy because the earliest people to help with the translation. Joseph's wife, Emma and Martin Harris when they later gave statements of the process they witnessed they described him using a stone in the hat. They do not describe him using these spectacles that were supposedly saved with the plates. So although I was raised to believe that the spectacles were used during the first hundred and 16 pages of translation work, at which time he switched to using the stone in the hat.

We don't have statements from eyewitnesses of him actually using these interpreters human thumb on these large-size spectacles were supposedly saved. Which raises the whole issue, the question why were they even saved in the first place. God's preserved these evidently for thousands of years for Joseph to use to translate the book of Mormon plates yet as far as we know, no one saw Museum you have a number of customers coming to your bookstore. Many of them are Latter Day Saints, who were beginning to have doubts about their face. They're not really here to buy books they want to talk to somebody in your bookstore makes it a safe place for people to talk to you in your estimation just based on your conversations with some of the customers that come in here how many of them were aware that Joseph Smith use the seer stone in a hat because we find that to be well at least before the church admitted it in the gospel topics essay that many Latter Day Saints were kind of surprised that the church admitted that and let me add in one more thing Sandra Wright was talking to a nine-year-old latter-day St., who converted when he was 29 is 90 today and I asked him this question a few days ago I said did you know that Joseph Smith translated with the stone in the hat he says of course I did. I said how long have you known that he says I've known it all my life. Do you think he was tell me the truth. It's possible depending on what he read. I mean they the statements of using a stone in the hat were made by David Weber way back in 1887, so there were little used historical items that would have mentioned the stone in the hat but not through standard Mormon channels, not from the average person's experience, even though there been times when the Mormon church historians have mentioned the stone and hat. It's possible he could have read some article mentioning the use of the stone in the hat but it would not of been the standard narrative.

The church would've been putting out it wouldn't of been the way the missionaries would have been trained so that you may have had some Mormon scholars write something about it, but it was not the standard instruction that was given out.

In fact, I had Mormon fellow in this week that went on his mission. Just think it was 10 or 11 years ago and he didn't know about the stone in the hat when he went on his mission. He has about this relatively Smith as release rates that it wasn't how he came back from his mission that he found out about stone in the hat and he felt very much like it been like to about many issues, but that was one of the that he went out to tell people about the book of Mormon on this very specific claim of God giving him this translation in the use of the garments on the bed saved with plates and all of that and now he feels like while I misinformed all these people because that wasn't the real story will it's interesting because you're absolutely correct. If this particular gentleman that Eric ran into had read certain things he probably certainly could have come across that and you mentioned David Witmer who is one of the three witnesses to the authenticity of the book of Mormon, but how many Latter Day Saints really know about the book he wrote.

I remember when I was first studying Mormonism. I was not aware that I had to learn that from people like you. That's who were telling the story. It was the critics of Mormonism.

It wasn't necessarily scholars that were talking about this openly. But once you find David Witmer's and addressed all believers in Christ. Yet he mentions this, but how many know about that booklet right that most people don't and people tell me quite often about look at the statement of three witnesses. They all affirmed the truthfulness of the book of Mormon and when I mentioned to them what have you read all of David Witmer statement. He didn't just affirm the book of Mormon. At the end of his life. He also affirmed that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet because they've never heard about David Witmer's pamphlet where he explains all his beliefs and let's just be honest most Latter Day Saints. I don't think new since 2015 the church made a big deal about it, and brought out the seer stone and it made the front page of the newspaper. I just can't imagine too many people really knew about it except for maybe people who were looking to do research on how many Latter Day Saints define that actually are doing research. The pamphlet that this gentleman gave me a note.

I was hiking actually amount to Pinocchio's and he had a shirt that said converted by the book of Mormon 90-year-old man who walks up every day and does us a hike. He was an interesting man. We had about a 20 minute conversation, but he hands me a pamphlet. Joseph Smith translates the goal placement. What's the picture on the front page. It's Joseph Smith with his finger on the plates just like the February 2001 & magazine which has a similar kind of picture, but now the church art is showing that Joseph Smith was looking into a hat. You'll see this in the church are in fact a recent movie that we reviewed called witnesses they never talk about the human thumb and they only talk about the seer stone and if he does this offer the seer stone. Of course, that raises the question why did he even depletes in the first place. It seems pretty cruel of God to put Joseph Smith through this horrible ordeal where he's attacked by three people, two of whom we now learn from the church itself were armed and yet Joseph Smith was somehow able to fight off these attackers and run away from them carrying these heavy plates with a limp. So if he didn't need the plates because wasn't William Smith. I believe it may have been William Smith who said that many times when he was translating the police were lying nearby covered up with the plates, or even bear at all. Why are they covered up ways in the actually looking at the plates as this picture that that was on the cover. The & magazine years ago.

What would be the purpose of the plates that doesn't seem like there needed at all and yet when I read some of the stories by Mormon scholars on this in my opinion. I know people initially will you just don't believe anyway you don't have an open mind bill, I'm going, but weight it doesn't seem to make sense. Give me a good reason why he needed plates if he didn't need them at all. The problem is much more complicated.

Even then, that because nowadays that scholars are talking about him adding some of his own inspiration and spiritual thoughts into the translation, not just what was literally on the plates so more and more it looks like he didn't need the plates at all because not only did they not looking to Molly's translating. He evidently was free to interpose his own thoughts is the one along Andrew what do you think if somebody were to ask you the biggest problem of the book of Mormon translation process. I mean there's a lot of issues we talked about here today, but what would be the biggest well number one we have no evidence.

There were ever any plates numbered to the type of script. Joseph Smith said he copied off doesn't amount to any kind of known language. Nothing that can be done to hide it on pinning it down to any culture as opposed to the Bible where you have real manuscripts that are in real languages that any scholar can translate.

I think those are all major problems for the book of Mormon and its physicality and then you have the whole problem. The internal content of the book of Mormon that it's all out of sync for what we know about the Americas that is so many anachronisms in the book of Mormon to have them going to war with horses and chariots and having steel swords is totally out of place for the timeframe so that it's just a whole package of problems for the book of Mormon.

Whether you approach it from the physical object of the plates or the translation in content. All of that becomes problematic. We been talking with Sandra Tanner. She's the founder of Utah lighthouse ministry if you want to check out their website. If you TL M.O are you in tomorrow were going to continue this conversation regarding Joseph Smith as a translator, thank you for listening you would like more information regarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is

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